Is Your Website Mobile-Friendly?
You may have heard of the term “mobile-friendly,” or “mobile-responsive,” or just “responsive” in reference to a website, but do you know how to tell whether or not a website—specifically your website—can make that claim?
Back in the day, if you wanted a mobile website, you actually had two different websites (one of which was on a subdomain). One that was triggered for desktops and laptops, and one that was triggered for mobile devices. In most cases, people gave these two sites the same design, so the difference between them was minimal, but you still had to actually develop a second site and pay for it separately, if you made changes to one version, you had to make sure you made changes to the other, and it made it more difficult for search engines to correctly index + rank the webite. *cue happy feelings about how far technology has come*
Today, a mobile-responsive website is one that automatically reformats to fit any size screen—from a desktop, to a tablet, to a phone. This is actually coded as part of your design so that you don’t have to have two different websites. This makes it easier for mobile readers (now accounting for close to half of internet searches) to read and navigate around your website because the text is readable and fits the screen (no need to pinch, scroll, and zoom), the navigation menu turns into a dropdown menu, and all links reformat to be easily clickable (so you don’t have to deal with the incredibly frustrating fat finger syndrome).
But not only are mobile-responsive websites important to your human visitors, Google has announced that beginning April 21st, they will be making changes to their algorithm to include the mobile-friendliness of a website as a factor when ranking websites in search results. This means that if your website is not mobile-friendly, your website could drop in search engine rankings and be more difficult to find in search results.
How do I know if my website is mobile responsive?
Enter your website into Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test here: https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/ for a plain answer—yes or no—as to whether or not your site is mobile-friendly.
Additionally, Studio Press has an excellent feature that shows you what your website looks like on different sized screens. You’ll know if your website is mobile-responsive if it adjusts to the fit of each screen size example (if you have to scroll side to side, your site does not fit). Studio Press uses their own website as an example so you can see an example of how it should look when you have a mobile-responsive website. This is also a great tool to use if you’re worried about how different design elements look on various mobile screens.
How do I make my website mobile responsive?
This has to do with how your website is designed in the first place.
If you’re using Squarespace or a newer WordPress theme, it’s likely that your website is already mobile-responsive. Both Weebly and WordPress.com (or the Jetpack plugin) have a mobile-friendly version that automatically kicks in for mobile devices, but doesn’t necessarily remain consistent design-wise with your regular theme. Blogger has this type of mobile-friendly site option as well, but you have to activate it in your template settings.
If you love your current design and it’s not mobile-responsive, it may be worth it to create a separate mobile website, or better yet, get in touch with your designer to see if they’ll rebuild the site for you to display correctly across all devices.